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Ranked: The Super Bowl Halftime Show from Worst to Best
From Nipplegate to “Halftime on Ice,” a look at football’s weirdest intermission.
By Libby Rumelt
Oh, the halftime show. A chance for the die-hard game watchers to sober up and get something to eat, while the rest of the party enjoys an absurd musical spectacle. This Sunday, America will gather to watch Super Bowl XLV, and as we prepare for the smoke machines, choreographed groups of dancing children, and Black-Eyed Peas, we thought we’d take a look back at the last twenty years of halftime shows. (Because before that, it was more marching bands, and less hydra-like musical superbeast. And what fun is that?)
20. Super Bowl XXVIII (1994)
Rockin' Country Sunday
Featuring: The Judds, Clint Black, Tanya Tucker, Travis Tritt
I think there's a reason it's impossible to find a YouTube clip of this performance.
19. Super Bowl XXVI (1992)
Featuring: Gloria Estefan, Brian Boitano, Dorothy Hamill
Not even the ironic cheese factor makes ice skating on Teflon in the middle of a football game seem cool.
18. Super Bowl XXXIV (2000)
Tapestry of Nations
Featuring: Phil Collins, Christina Aguilera, Enrique Iglesias, Toni Braxton, Edward James Olmos.
Olmos' randomly placed heartfelt narration and the schmaltzy theme undermine the legitimate pop talent these four performers have to offer. Someone hand me that tapestry so I can suffocate myself with it.
17. Super Bowl XXV (1991)
A Small World Tribute to Twenty-Five Years of the Super Bowl
Featuring: New Kids On The Block, Disney Characters, small children
Every single child in this performance looks traumatized, but at least you can tell the Kids are singing live.
16. Super Bowl XXIX (1995)
Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye
Featuring: Faux Indy and Marion, Teddy Pendergrass, Tony Bennett, Arturo Sandoval, Patti LaBelle
This was essentially just product placement for the new Indiana Jones attraction in Disneyland. Let’s keep our eye on the prize, people.
15. Super Bowl XXXVII (2003)
Featuring: Shania Twain, No Doubt, Sting
No Doubt and Sting performed some tried and true classics, but Shania Twain and her Hot Topic-looking costume really bring this show's ranking down.
14. Super Bowl XXXIII (1999)
Celebration of Salsa, Soul & Swing
Featuring: Stevie Wonder, Gloria Estefan, Chaka Khan, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Savion Glover
Not bad, just not very memorable. Like 1999 itself, come to think of it.
13. Super Bowl XXXI (1997)
Blues Brothers Bash
Featuring: Dan Aykroyd, John Goodman, James Belushi, ZZ Top, James Brown
James Brown makes this performance what it is. Without him, I couldn't really justify ranking a SNL skit (no matter how iconic) this highly.
12. Super Bowl XXXVIII (2004)
Rock The Vote
Featuring: P. Diddy, Nelly, Kid Rock, Justin Timberlake, Janet Jackson, and her nipple
Hey, do you guys remember Kid Rock and Diddy's performances? Man, those were great.
11. Super Bowl XLII (2008)
Featuring: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Out of all the classic rock acts we've had in the last seven years of Super Bowl, Tom Petty's performance was the least exciting.